Australian High Schools
Australia is sometimes called “the clever country”. Despite its relatively small population, it has produced many high-achievers in science, technology and the arts. So it is not surprising that the Australian Education System is one of the best in the world.
Australian high schools have strong standards, a comprehensive curriculum, and highly qualified teachers. High schools can be either state-owned (70% of students) or private (30%); all are subject to strict regulations and controls. There is emphasis on non-discrimination and equality of opportunity. In principle, a high school year in Australia and the relevant Australian school certificates are recognised and valued worldwide.
School in Australia begins with six years of primary education (years 1-6) followed by six years of high school (years 7-12). Students normally begin Primary School at age 5 and finish high school around 17-18 years old.
Graduates who successfully complete Years 11 and 12 receive a High School Certificate or “HSC” (comparable to a Baccalaureate or German “Abitur”) and can proceed to tertiary education (university or college). Each student’s HSC performance is ranked with a score from 1 (highest) to 25 (lowest), depending on subject combination and results. Most Australian universities set a minimum HSC score for student admission.
English is a compulsory subject in all Australian high schools. In most cases, mathematics, natural science and physical education are compulsory too. Some, such as mathematics, also have advanced modules for more ambitious students.
The compulsory subjects are taught in all of the Australian schools that we deal with. There is also a wide range of optional subjects, which you will find listed in detail in the information section on individual schools. (See The Schools).
State High Schools (“state schools” or “public schools”) cost very little for Australians, and so students come from a broad spectrum of the Australian community. State schools are not as formal as private schools regarding school uniforms for example. Apart from the basic subjects, state schools have great flexibility when it comes to the subjects they make available to their students. Individual schools offer a total of more than 50 different subjects, of which students must choose six (some are compulsory). Classes are held from 9 am to 3 pm. Sports activities – if selected – are also held during this time.
All state schools in our program have modern computer labs; some even have audio-visual recording studios. There are vocational training centres with state-of-the art technology, photo labs and multimedia facilities. Individual programs range from subjects such as music, dance, ballet and drama, to business administration, aeronautics and information technology. Sports include football, golf, tennis basketball and even surfing in some coastal areas. Certain schools also offer Excellence Programs with a large variety of languages, sports, arts and music.
There are also “regional programs” for state schools in smaller rural towns. The core subjects are always offered, but the number of optional ones may be more limited. If you are attracted to a quieter lifestyle, then these schools are a good money-saving alternative that delivers an educational level designed for all Australians.
Assessment of School Achievements
Achievements are assessed by means of homework, assignments, oral and written examinations, and practical assignments. At the end of each term, students receive a report card that describes their progress in the relevant subjects.
Almost all state and private schools in Australia require students to wear school uniforms. Each high school has its own special uniform, and a shop where you can buy one new or used. The demand for second-hand uniforms is very useful for international students, because they can normally sell theirs quite easily before going home.